We are stunned. After passing SB 488 through both houses of the legislature with overwhelming bipartisan margins and responding to every legislator's concern with information or compromise, Governor Perry killed the bill today.
In spite of the huge number of phone calls in the span of two very intense hours, Governor Perry vetoed the Safe Passing bill, SB 488.
Thanks to all of you who responded to the BikeTexas Action Alert today and called the Governor's office.
We are extremely disappointed with the Governor's action. In our view, this reflects a cavalier attitude on the part of the Governor toward the deaths of the 1000 vulnerable road users that are killed annually in Texas.
It is well known that Rick Perry rides a bike on the streets and on the trails. Unfortunately, ordinary Texans do not have a security detail to shield them from motorists who drive dangerously.
BikeTexas strongly disagrees with the reasoning stated in the veto message from the Governor below. Law enforcement, prosecutors, AAA, AARP, Texas Motorcycle Rights Association and Texas Towing and Storage Association joined BikeTexas in supporting SB 488 because they also believed this bill could have saved lives.
We will keep you informed regarding the next steps. Please stay tuned.
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 488 of the 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session, due to the following objections:
Senate Bill No. 488 would create a new class of users of roadways, called "vulnerable road users," which would require specific actions by operators of motor vehicles. These vulnerable road users would include pedestrians; highway construction and maintenance workers; tow truck operators; stranded motorists or passengers; people on horseback; bicyclists; motorcyclists; moped riders; and other similar road users.
Many road users placed into the category of vulnerable road users already have operation regulations and restrictions in statute. For example, a person operating a vehicle being drawn by an animal is subject to the same duties as a motor vehicle, and a pedestrian is required to yield the right of way to a motor vehicle, unless he or she is at an intersection or crosswalk.
While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users. In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a "vulnerable user" or not.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this the 19th day of June, 2009.
RICK PERRY Governor of Texas
ATTESTED BY: COBY SHORTER, III Deputy Secretary of State